20 super easy & interesting activities to keep kids engaged during lockdown

As all educational institutions are closed due to the Covid-19 lockdown, kids are at home all day, for a long time as of now.

So, they are easily getting bored, irritated and dull.

Since the adults are also mostly busy with their work, kids are often left on their own. They tend to spend more time in front of screen instead of engaging their brain actively which leads to issues in communication, socialization and less interest to interact with family and friends.

Keeping your toddlers and kids busy and happy; making sure they are not glued in front of a screen for long may seem daunting.

In my previous article, I had mentioned some practical tips to keep kids engaged at home, with some self engaging activity ideas.

How to choose the right kind of activities for your kid ?

Although, there are no shortage of activities available for kids, parents may get confused with too many options as to how to engage their kids , which activity will be both beneficial to them and fun as well, without much preparations ?

So, here in this article, I will be giving a list of 20 simple and low prep activities which you can easily do at home, with multiple benefits for your child.

These activities are not just fun, but a great way of learning, highly effective for developing various skills in your child.

Adding a cherry on top, I will also be giving some variations in each activity to increase or decrease the difficulty level you can choose according to the age and level of your child.

Go on !

(A) Learning with Movements !

Kids love to move !- Jumping, running, hopping are activities they love to do all day !

The interesting fact is that, when you want to teach anything to your kid, if you add any movement (like Jumping, running,etc) your kid will not just learn the concept superfast, but also retains the concept for long.

Try it !

If your child is not much interested to sit for hours to study, or has difficulty to understand and apply a concept, try adding jumping or any movement and see the magic !

Here are a few activities with numerous benefits and can be used for different age groups :-

1 ) Line jumping games
This is incredibly simple to set up and can keep your little ones busy for long periods of time !

If your kids are very active all the time, this is a great way to release their extra energy and develop their gross motor skills !

It can be used in many variations and is enjoyable for both young and older kids as well.

Materials needed:-

▪️Tape or Marker

Steps of activity :-

  1. Use black/brown/white tape to make some lines on the floor about a foot apart from each other.
  2. Lines can be any size and numbers depending on the space you have in your room.
  3. If you don’t have tape, you can use a marker to draw lines. They should be a little thick enough to be clearly visible. You are good to go !

1🔸How far can you jump ?

Set up a starting point (make a circle ⭕ with start written on it). Then ask your child - How far can you jump at once ?

If your child can jump till 3 lines, ask them to try to cross 4 lines in the next round.

And the next round, try to beat up his own score !

You can play with siblings or friends and make a competition of who can jump the farthest ?

You will be amazed at how much fun your kids will have with this simple game and it will keep them busy for a long time.

2🔸Side jump competition

A little variation of the above game can be to ask who can jump sideways to the farthest ?

Or,

Beat up one’s own score in side jumping !

3🔸Count and jump
For older kids, or kids who have learnt to count, you can play a game of count and jump !

For this, you can draw upto 6 lines. Roll a dice, the number which comes, he/she has to count & jump forward that number of lines !

Take turns, let your kid roll the dice while you jump.

4🔸Hop with 1 leg

Make it a little more challenging by giving different commands like :-

A- Hop with 1 leg till the last line.

B- A competition with your mama or sibling — who can hop till the last line first ?

5🔸 Hop on command

Another variation of the hop with 1 leg can be - listen and jump !

You can command:-

▪️ Hop with right leg till 3rd line, then hop with left leg till 6th line.

▪️ Go from start to finish line hopping with right leg and come back hopping with left leg
▪️ Hop 1 line with right leg and next line with left leg till the last line.

Benefits:-

➡️ It’s fun !

➡️ Develops gross motor skills

➡️ Enhances motor planning skills
➡️ Helps in developing perception of direction
➡️ Concept of counting
➡️ Improves Command following
➡️ Listening skills
➡️Body awareness

➡️ Releases lots of energy

➡️Develops turn taking

➡️ Engaging in jumping activities like this improves attention required for learning and child can focus much better.

2 ) Pick up on Lines

Materials needed:-

▪️ Adhesive tape/ Marker
▪️ Some colourful beads/gems/small pegs
▪️ 3 - 4 buckets/bowls having the same colour as the beads.

Steps of the activity:-
1. Draw zig zag lines on the floor. ( Or any pattern ).
2. Keep different colour buckets/bowls at different places.
3. At the start, put some colour balls/beads/ gems !

1🔸Walk along the lines.

Kid has to pick up one colour bead, walk along the line and put it inside the same colour bowl/bucket. Then, come back to the starting point, take another color and repeat until he has finished picking all the beads.

Variations can be:-

2🔸Crawl or bear walk over the lines.

Benefits:-

➡️ Improves body awareness

➡️ Enhances motor planning skills

➡️ Improves fine motor skills(fine hand functions)

➡️ Develops gross motor skills

➡️ Improves balance & coordination

➡️ Colour matching
➡️ Problem solving skills

➡️Enhances visual motor scanning (Visual scanning is finding last night’s homework in a cluttered backpack.
Visual scanning is locating a matching shoe in a bin at the bottom of the closet.)

➡️ Requires lot of attention.

➡️ Releases lots of energy in a productive way.

This puddle jumping alphabet activity is a great way to move and learn letters, letter sounds, words & spellings! Bring the rainy fun inside with this playful preschool literacy activity!

Materials needed :-

▪️ Colour paper
▪️ Marker / Chalk
▪️ Cello tapes
▪️ Scissors

Steps of activity:-

1. Cut the paper into puddle-like shapes.

2. Write a letter on each puddle.

3. Make tape loops and place one on the back of each puddle.

4. Stick your puddles to the ground in a circle.

OR,

You can also draw circles on the floor with a chalk/Marker and write a letter inside each circle.

How to play:-

You can play it in various ways depending on your child’s level and what areas you want to focus on !

1🔸 What sound does it make?

You play the music, kid has to jump from one puddle to the other till music stops.

Stop it randomly. Next, the kid has to identify the letter he/she stopped on by name and then tell you the sound it makes.

Start music again and let him jump !

This activity can be played by toddlers who are learning letters and their sounds.

For older kids who are learning words, you can play in the following ways

2🔸How many words can you tell ?

Jump, jump, jump till the music stops ! When the music stops, kid has to identify the letter he/she has stopped on and tell 3–4 words starting with that letter.

3🔸Name a category
Jump, jump, jump till the music stops ! When the music stops, you can ask, name a fruit/veichle/animal/colour starting with that letter.

It’s a fun way to teach phonics and words. Kids learn faster and retain the information longer when associating words with jumping.

4🔸Musical puddle (group)

If you are playing a group game with a few kids(5 yrs or older), you can play like musical chair.

Make the puddles one less than the number of kids.

Play music while they jump from 1 puddle to the other, when music stops, the kid without a puddle is out.

And others name a word starting with the letter they are standing on.

Benefits:-

➡️ A fun way to learn sounds of letters(phonics)

➡️ Builds vocabulary
➡️ Learning the spelling
➡️ Enhances listening skills
➡️ Works on motor planning skills
➡️ Improves attention
➡️ Improves memory

➡️Thinking processing skills ( Faster response to commands)

➡️Decison making skills
➡️ Burns a good amount of energy

Another awesome Variation of this activity can be:-

4) Number Puddle jump
Steps of activity:-

Same as the above activity , except for, you can write numbers in place of letters in the puddles.

How to play:-

1🔸Learning before/after

Start music as above, when music stops, ask kid which number he has stopped on.

Then, ask what’s it’s before number ?

What’s its after number ?

2🔸 Skip Counting

when music stops, ask which number child has stopped on,

Then ask to tell you 5 numbers skipping by 2.

Or 5 numbers skipping by 5.

3🔸Musical Number

when playing in a group, you can play like musical chair.

Removing one puddle each time a kid is out.

The last player standing on a puddle is the winner.

4🔸Count 1–10 , 10–1

For toddlers and kids just learning numbers, you can write the numbers 1–10 and paste serially in a row or 2 rows.

Then, ask them to count & jump forward from 1 to 10 naming the numbers one by one as they jump on it !

Next, you can ask them to jump backwards, 10–1 naming the numbers one by one as they step on it !

Benefits:-

Alongwith the above benefits as in alphabet puddle jump, kids also
➡️Learn the concept of after/before

➡️ Learn Skip counting
➡️Concept of forward counting and backward counting
➡️ Thinking processing skills
➡️ Listening skills
➡️Problem solving skills
➡️Motor planning skills
➡️Burns a lot of energy in a fun way

5 ) Touch the Shapes Activity

This is a super fun activity which releases a lot of energy of your super active kids with numerous learning benefits.

Materials needed:-

▪️Colour papers
▪️Scissors
▪️ Adhesive tape

Steps:-

  1. Cut out different shapes using colour papers.

2. Fix each shape at a distance from one another on the floor.

1🔸Move on command & touch the shape
You can give various movement Commands like:-

A-)Run to the square, touch it, then
B-)Jump to the heart, touch it, then
C-)Walk to the triangle, touch it, then

D-)Crawl to the circle.

2🔸 Touching shapes with different body parts

A-)Jump to the circle and touch it with your right leg, then
B-)Crawl to the square and touch it with your left hand, then
C-)Run to the triangle and touch it with your left knee, etc...

3🔸Move on command and touch the shape- variation
This activity can be made more challenging by pasting shapes of different colours/sizes.

A-) Jump to the Red square, touch it, then
B-) Run to the Blue circle, touch it, then
C-) Crawl to the Green square, touch it,then
D-) Walk to the Pink triangle,

E-) Jump to the Yellow square.

Benefits:-

➡️ Learning concept of shapes and colours.

➡️ Improves motor planning skills
➡️Body awareness

➡️ Postural control
➡️ Thinking processing skills
➡️ Enhances listening skills
➡️ Works on problem solving skills

➡️ Core muscles strengthening.

➡️ Works on both auditory and visual processing skills (multisensory) which is highly essential in all daily activities.

(B) Fun activities which can be done in quiet sitting time

Kids usually don’t like to sit for long hours except for screen time and it’s sometimes difficult for parents to keep them engaged meaningfully.

So, here are some easiest quiet sitting & fun activities that not just help your child to improve sitting tolerance but also great to develop child’s creativity, hand functions, attention span, visual processing skills (essential for reading, writing and daily task) and many more !

1 ) Rubber band activity
This is a great activity that helps to develop pincer grasp in kids. A very simple activity to increase finger strength and can be used in many variations as well focusing on different areas.

Can be given to toddlers. They love this activity.

1🔸Put Rubber bands around a bottle

Materials needed:-

▪️Any water bottle or tin can or anything cylindical.

▪️Lots of colorful rubber bands

Steps:-

1. Use a bottle or anything cylindrical.
2. Help your kid to pick up 1 rubber band,
pull with fingers and put around a bottle...
3. Then remove them one by one.

(*Make sure he uses his two fingers {Thumb & index} to pull the rubber bands while putting around bottle and removing.* )

*Or Thumb, index and middle fingers for younger kids * .

2🔸 Putting rubber bands by Counting
Ask your child to put rubber bands one by one while counting.

And then, remove 1 by 1 while counting.

A-) You can give a target as to- put 10 rubber bands around the bottle.

B-) Other variation can be :-

▪️ Put 5 yellow rubber bands &

▪️ 5 green rubber bands.

3🔸Put rubber bands matching colours

Use 3–4 different colour bottles/cans for this activity.

A-) Colour matching

Ask your kids to sort out 3 colour rubber bands and put them around the respective bottle. Then remove one by one using two fingers.

B-) Colour matching with Count

You can make it more challenging for little older kids(4–6yrs old) by asking them to put different number of rubber bands around different bottles.

Example:-

Put 3 yellow rubber bands, 4 green rubber bands and 2 red rubber bands.

They have to remember (2–3 instructions), count and put around the respective colour bottles.

Benefits:-

➡️ Strengthening pincer grasp (using thumb and index finger)

➡️ Works on:- Concept of counting
➡️ Enhances colour matching skills
➡️Improves eye hand coordination ( essential for writing, putting buttons, colouring, and other daily routine activities )
➡️ Works on- Listen, remember and execute(planning skills)

➡️ Easy and fun activity

2-) Playdough activity
Using playdough has multiple benefits for kids.

You can also use kneaded “atta" as a variation.

Depending on what areas you want to focus, you can use different materials.

Materials needed:-

▪️ Playdough (any colours)

▪️ Any small objects (coins, beads, beans, small pegs )

▪️ If you don’t have beads/small pegs, you can use green peas/raajma beans/chickpeas also.

▪️ Pencil

1🔸Find the hidden treasure!

Make a spherical shape playdough. Insert some small beads/coins in it.

Ask your kid to pinch the playdough with his fingers, find the bead and name it’s colour.

It’s an excellent activity to develop your child’s finger strength and fine motor skills.

(if beads not available, you can put raajma beans/chickpeas inside the playdough).

2🔸 Pinch the playdough

Knead the playdough into a cylindrical shape. Ask your child to use 3 fingers and pinch off small pieces of playdough.

Keep doing till all the playdough is finished.

3🔸 Making different shapes/letters/numbers/animals/birds

Roll the playdough into small cylindrical pieces. Ask your child to make different shapes/letters/numbers with it.

Let your kid use his/her imagination and make anything out of the playdough. It’s an excellent activity to build their imaginative skills , channelize their energy in a very productive way.

4🔸Write on playdough

This is a wonderful activity to help develop and strengthen three finger grasp in kids. ( For pencil holding).

Roll the playdough into a thick flat piece. Use a pencil to make lines/write letters on it slowly.

Ask your kid to copy you, or hold his hands and help him to make different strokes/ write letters on playdough. It can be used by kids learning to hold pencil and write.

Benefits:-

➡️ Strengthening 3 finger grasp ( for holding pencil)

➡️Develops pre writing skills.

➡️ Enhances creativity and imagination skills
➡️ Develops problem solving skills.

➡️ Self engaging activity

➡️ Builds confidence & self esteem.

3-) Activities with Clothespins
Clothespins are the best way to engage child in a multiple ways-
Easily available, great for developing fine motor skills and can be used for a variety of activities !

Materials needed:-

▪️ Colourful clothespins

▪️Chart paper
▪️Thin cardboard
▪️Colours (sketch pens /markers)

▪️Rope

1🔸Press the clip

Use clips( clothespins) to press and fix on a thin cardboard .
Then press and remove 1 by 1.

A) Match the color

To make it more fun, you can make some circles of different colours on a chart paper or thin cardboard.

Then, ask him to fix the same colour clips over the respective colour circles.

2🔸Clip ABC

Cut small circles of the chart paper and write A-Z on them.

Tie a rope at shoulder height of your kid.

Ask him to find out and clip A-Z in a sequence.

3🔸Clip 123

For a variation, You can also write numbers, 1–20 on the chart paper instead of letters & ask your kid to clip numbers in a sequence.

4🔸Colour sorting
Use 3–4 different colour clips.

There should be a few clips of each colour.

Ask your kid to sort out different colours and clip each one at the back of the same colour clip.

5🔸 Clip matching socks
Put a few pairs of socks. Spread them randomly.

Ask your kid to find the similar pair of socks and clip them together.

Benefits:-

➡️ Strengthening 3 finger grasp for holding pencil

➡️ Improves attention

➡️ Improves visual scanning skills
➡️ Colour matching skills
➡️ Develops Sequencing
➡️ Motor planning skills

➡️Fine motor skills
➡️ Identification of letters & numbers

➡️ Improves eye hand coordination

4) Q-Tip activities
A number of activities can be planned using a simple object like a Q-Tip that are both enjoyable and helpful for learning different concepts !

Kids love to play and explore new ways of using their creative minds with this simple object !

Materials needed:-

▪ ️Some Q-tips(Earbuds)

▪️ Water colours
▪️ Thick sheet of paper or a plain copy

1🔸Dot painting
Make any simple pictures with dots(small circles) and let your kid use a Q-Tip( Earbud) to paint those dots !

2🔸 Paint letters with Q tip

It’s a fun way to teach letters and pencil holding grasp ( when kids are in preschool stages learning to write ).

A) Write down letters on a thick sheet of paper.

B) Then, ask your kid to dip the Q tip in a colour & trace on them using different colours .

If he is learning to write letters for the first time, this can be a great prewriting activity. No need to go in sequential order.

C) You can teach them letters like “I", “T", “L", “H", “F", etc to write first using a Q tip.

3🔸 Colour the Shape

A)You can draw some shapes on a paper. Or, you can draw any pictures having some circles, triangles, squares randomly.

B) Then, mark which colour would be given for each shape.

C) Now, ask your kid to look at which shape is which color and colour the picture accordingly using the Q tip.

5) Activities with common small objects
You can use common objects like “bindis", colourful buttons, color beads or stickers for these activities. With these simple daily used objects, you can make multipurpose activities.

Materials needed:-

▪️ Paper
▪️ Marker/sketch pens

▪️ Colourful Buttons
▪️ Bindis / Stickers
▪️ Cling film

1🔸Trace the pattern

Make different patterns on a paper.

Ask your kid to put different colour buttons on the pattern from start till end.

Next, ask him/her to “give me all yellow buttons”

“Give me all red buttons”.

2🔸Peel off the Bindis/stickers

Place a cling film on the patterns.

Ask your kid to count & put stickers/bindis on the pattern 1 by 1 from start to finish.

Next, ask to remove by peeling off using thumb and index fingers while counting.

Benefits:-

➡️ Develops eye hand coordination

➡️ Develops pre-writing skills
➡️ Develops concept of writing letters

➡️ Enhances Visual tracking skills

➡️ Fine motor skills ( required for all daily tasks like writing, painting, eating, dressing, picking up small objects, manipulating small objects in hand,etc )
➡️ Enhances understanding concepts of various forms(shapes/lines)

➡️ Fun and self engaging

➡️ Improves attention span

(C) Creative Play

Numerous activities can be added to this category. These activities are super fun, engages your child for hours, channelizes their energy in a very productive way, helps develop self regulation and enhances their expressive abilities.

1 🔸Blow painting

Materials needed:-

▪️Paper
▪️Straw
▪️Water colours

Steps:-

  1. Put a drop of any colour on a sheet of paper.
  2. Blow on it using a straw in different directions
  3. Put few more drops of different colours and blow in all directions.
  4. Use your creativity to make any design, You can use sketch pens to make some pictures with your colourful design.

Its a wonderful way to blow out your creative imagination skills.

It can keep your kids engaged for hours enhancing their imaginative skills and also strengthens their respiratory system.

2🔸 Spray painting

Materials needed:-

▪️Water colors
▪️Any object which can be used as stencils (leaves, pens, bottle caps, or anything else)

▪️Toothbrush

Steps:-

  1. On a sheet of paper, draw any picture/design
  2. Place your stencils on your picture.
  3. Put some colours on the toothbrush and start spraying paint on the paper holding your stencils on place.

Another awesome way to engage your child for long periods enhancing his/her creativity.

3🔸Finger painting

This activity is very beneficial for kids having tactile discrimination or tactile defensiveness.

Its also helps to develop prewriting skills in kids.

Steps:-

  1. You can draw any picture or draw your kid’s hand pattern on a paper.
  2. Put your kid’s hands in paint & press over the pattern.

3. You can make different pictures and ask your kid to paint using their fingers.

4🔸Leaf painting
Leaf painting is another creative idea of engaging your kids productively for long periods of time.

You can use leaves of different sizes & shapes and kids can use their imaginative skills to make various designs.

5🔸Origami / Simple paper folding activity
Origami or any simple paper folding activity ( you can choose depending on your child’s age & paper folding skills) can be very useful to enhance different skills in your child ( that will be useful in your child’s daily life and academics).

Benefits:-

➡️ Develops motor planning

➡️ Enhances creativity

➡️ Enhances child’s expressive abilities

➡️ Improves attention span
➡️ Fine motor skills
➡️ Imitation skills
➡️Boosts your child’s self confidence

➡️ Enhances emotional regulation

➡️ Fun and self engaging

(D) Ball and balloon games

These activities can be played both in groups or individually and are a must for every child as they focus on developing different important skills which are necessary for your child in his daily life.

1🔸Ball catch and throw
This simple activity can be played by two or more persons in many different variations.

It’s highly beneficial for developing attention, eye contact, response, motor planning and many more skills.

A) Ball catch and throw with Counting
For young toddlers- can be played by 2 or more persons

B) Catch a ball with a bounce on the floor.
Variations:-

1)Can be played by 2 or more kids. Throw the ball with 1 bounce in the middle or a circle drawn (in the middle of 2 players)

2)Can catch and throw with Counting

3) In a larger group of (more than 5 kids), make a game of - whoever misses the ball is out. The last one with the ball wins !

2🔸Hit a target
You can paste or write few letters on the wall at a little distance from each other randomly.

Stand at a little distance with a ball. Then, you can command, “ Hit A", “Hit C", etc.

Variation can be :-

▪️Draw a circle ⭕ on the wall.

Ask your kid to hit the circle 10 times !

3🔸 Obstacle course carrying a balloon
Materials needed:-

▪️Balloons
▪️Tennis racket
▪️Cushions/boxes

Steps:-

1. You can set up a small obstacle course by placing a few cushions or empty boxes from 1 end of the room to the other.

2. Use a tennis racket to balance a balloon and move from 1 end of the room to the other crossing the obstacles.

3. Variation:-

Can be played in a group of 2–3 players. Mark start and finish points. Whoever reaches the finish point without dropping his balloon first, wins !

4🔸Tap the balloon !

This simple activity can be played by young toddlers.

It’s simple, burns a lot of energy and keeps your young toddler busy for a long time ! It also helps to develop body awareness.

Just try out !

Steps:-

1.Hang a balloon from a rope.

2. It should be a little higher than your toddler can reach so that he has to jump to touch it !

3. Jump and tap !

4. You can make it more interesting by using glowing balloons.

Variations can be:-

Ask your toddler to :-

▪️Tap with your right hand
▪️Tap with your left hand
▪️Tap with both hands
▪️Tap with your head,etc.

▪️Count and tap 10 times

5🔸Don’t touch the balloon !

This game can be played by 2 or more persons.

You can use 1 balloon or many balloons (for group game).

Steps:-

  1. Mark start and finish points.
  2. Two players carry a balloon from 1 end of the room to the other by pressing it in between their tummy without touching the balloon !

Variations :-

Can be played in a group or 4–6 kids.

  1. Three groups (2 in each team) carry the balloon from start to finish point pressing the balloon in any part of their bodies, like- tummy, back, head/elbows.
  2. Don’t touch the balloon.

3. The group which reaches the finish line first, wins !

Benefits:-

➡️ Enhances motor planning skills
➡️ Promotes faster response to commands
➡️ Understanding of rule based games

➡️ Improves thinking processing skills.

➡️ Builds use of both hands and legs in a sequential and coordinated way
➡️Improves attention

➡️Helps to develop group skills like cooperation, observation, team work

➡️ Improves body awareness

➡️ Releases lots of energy.

➡️Self engaging and Fun

Lastly, I would like to say that although we all are facing some hard times, it has given us an opportunity to spend time with our family, to have fun with our kids. So, lets make the most of this opportunity by taking care of ourselves and our loved ones, both our physical & mental well-being.

This too shall pass….

Stay Safe !

Stay Happy !

Stay Healthy !

Stay Home !

My name is Abhipsa Parida. I am an occupational therapist and I have been working with kids with special needs since 5 years.

I am sure the above activities will definitely be of a great benefit to all of my readers. They are planned so that anyone can easily engage their kids in productive games using objects commonly available in every household with a minimal preparation. They are very effective for your child’s development in different areas.

Enjoy reading and doing the activities.

If you have any queries, you can mail it to me at- abhipsaot21@gmail.com

My name is Abhipsa Parida. I am an occupational therapist and I have been handling kids with special needs since 5 years. I run my own clinic in Bhubaneswar

My name is Abhipsa Parida. I am an occupational therapist and I have been handling kids with special needs since 5 years. I run my own clinic in Bhubaneswar